Many readers may be familiar with Jeremy Clarkson, a popular journalist who generally writes on the topic of ‘motoring’. He represents the views of an embattled social group who define themselves by their ownership of cars.
Clarkson actually does a great deal more than write articles and present television programmes, and the graph at the head of this article shows the results of research by the influential Clarkson Institute. The data show conclusively that not owning a car causes misery (a score of zero on the Clarkson Happiness Index™), and that the more cars one owns, the happier one becomes.
The result will be a boost for the car industry whose main aim is to increase to the net sum of human happiness. It shows that their current strategy – which involves making and selling as many cars as possible – is clearly optimal.
The Clarkson Institute results differ from the previous results from informal surveys which suggested that not owning a car did not cause terminal depression. Indeed, it had been previously believed that people could lead ‘normal’ lives without owning a car at all! Such people would find it hard to identify with the universal human experiences described in Clarkson’s best selling books:
- The Joy of Parking : in which Clarkson describes the satisfaction of parking a car in a major city. How I laughed!
- M1 to M1 : which describes an almost inconceivable circumnavigation of the entire M25!
The new Clarkson Institute research makes clear that results of earlier research were flawed. Previously people had believed that although owning a motor car generally brought an increase in happiness, owning more motor cars resulted in relatively little extra happiness. Such informal research was seen as potentially limiting the growth of the car industry. The error appears to have occurred because of a flawed concept of happiness which the Clarkson Institute refer to as ‘hippy’ happiness. This ‘hippy happiness’ index counted things like ‘not spending time in a car’ as a positive influence on happiness! The Clarkson Happiness Index™ has finally skewered that lie. And on that bombshell… I have to go to bed.